The Nissan Qashqai was the car that sparked the explosion in sales of small SUVs. Its blend of 4x4 looks and hatchback running costs quickly made it a best seller and inspired numerous imitators, while the second-generation version (introduced in 2013) built on the success of the original by offering more style, practicality and technology.
This second Qashqai was so good, in fact, that we named it our 2014 Car of the Year. However, in the past 12 months it has been surpassed by new entries to the class, such as the Seat Ateca, so Nissan has responded by giving the Qashqai a host of updates. Below, we take a look at the key changes and whether they're enough to put the Qashqai back on top.
2017 Nissan Qashqai facelift new vs old – styling
The most obvious visual changes are at the front, where the Qashqai gets a larger grille that cuts into the bumper. This is flanked by more aggressive looking air intakes, while higher-spec cars now feature adaptive LED headlights.
The rear end has also been tweaked, gaining a new bumper and lights, plus Nissan is offering extra colour options and 'aero-optimised' 19in alloy wheels.
2017 Nissan Qashqai facelift new vs old – engines and driving
The Qashqai remains one of the most comfortable cars in its class, soaking up the majority of bumps around town and demonstrating an even more pliant ride than before at speed.
What's less impressive is the handling. Despite changes to the steering and suspension, the Qashqai doesn't feel particularly keen to change direction due to steering that's sluggish and (in Sport mode) artificially heavy.
We've tried the new car with the 161bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the 128bhp diesel of the same size. Both offer acceptable performance, but the petrol has very little get up and go at low revs and requires more patience and downchanges to keep it in its sweet spot.
Fortunately, the engines never create too much noise, even when pushed hard. This contributes to impressive overall refinement; Nissan has added thicker glass and more sound deadening materials, while also improving airflow around the car, so wind and road noise are always kept to a minimum.
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